Totalitarianism and violence
Liberals trying to justify their studied ignorance of the union violence in Michigan have settled on a new excuse: conservative comedian Steven Crowder kinda-sorta deserved to get punched out, because he was being “provocative” or an “instigator.” That doesn’t do much to explain why the union goons pulled down the Americans for Prosperity tent on its occupants, or assaulted innocent black hot dog vendor Clint Tarver while screaming racist insults at him, but perhaps tents and hot dogs are inherently provocative. Also, when liberals try to alter reality through the focused application of their political biases, they can only erase one fact at a time, and right now Crowder’s beating is the fact that most needs erasing.
Lefties made a game effort at pretending the attacks on Crowder, Tarver, and the AFP crew didn’t actually happen, or they were some kind of “false flag” operation, but that proved difficult, because there is video documentation of the events. Note to liberal fascists: Just because the mainstream media helpfully refuses to broadcast this video doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We right-wing blogger types can easily include it in our posts. See? It’s easy!
Pretending this didn’t happen is so…. pre-blog. Pre-Drudge. Pre-Rather. It might have worked in the Seventies or Eighties, but not any more.
So, we’re left with the growing “he got what he deserved” chorus. In fact, union supporter Andy Sullivan tried using exactly those words to Crowder on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night:
So getting in the way of noble union thugs, while they’re trying to destroy property owned by people they don’t like, justifies a beating? Aspiring fascist Max Read at Gawker echoed this sentiment in spades, telling Crowder to “stop whining, take your licks, and accept that getting hit in the face is a hazard of inserting yourself in the middle of an argument between billionaire-funded know-nothing ideologues and people whose livelihoods and stability are being threatened by the insatiable greed of the super-rich and the blind extremism of their wooden-headed political allies.”
Beating people up because they disagree with you is acceptable, provided you call the people who agree with them lots of names? Remember that if you ever feel the need to beat Max Read into the dirt. Just yell that he’s a stooge of jackbooted communist union mobsters while you’re giving him a root canal with your knuckles, and he’ll be fine with it.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, while forthrightly stating that Crowded did not deserve his “closed-fist treatment,” tried to justify the media’s studied ignorance of the incident by saying Crowder has been talking about it too much:
Violence at a pivotal union protest indeed merits strong national coverage. The events, after all, could signal that unions are finally getting their due; or that greedy industrialists are prevailing in another state; or that the country’s longstanding economic woes are giving way to desperation; or some combo thereof.
Yet if folks are truly scandalized by the lack of generalized media outrage about Crowder’s treatment, they should take a second look at Crowder’s actions. Though he appears to have carried himself nobly while under attack, he’s gone buffoonish since then. He said on Twitter yesterday that this is “getting fun.” He challenged his assailant to a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight. And he has generally sounded as if he’s enjoying this boost to his career prospects, in a way that his Halloween-candy-exposes-the-fraud-of-income-redistribution stunt did not.
Given how Crowder has carried on, I, too, may well pass on the story of his beating, were I a network executive producer.
Of course, the decision by media organizations to ignore the story was made before Crowder did most of these “buffoonish” things, but let’s not quibble about timelines. Erik, buddy, lean close to the monitor. I want to whisper a name to you: Sandra Fluke. Google it if you have trouble remember who she is, how she built an entire career out of complaining about an entirely non-violent joke told at her expense, and the absolute tidal wave of media coverage showered upon her as a result, culminating in her presence as a featured guest at the Democratic National Convention.
And what’s up with the first paragraph quoted above? Is Wemple saying that coverage of violent behavior should be rationed out based primarily upon its political significance… and maybe that coverage shouldn’t be entirely unsympathetic, if the face-punchers went nuts because “greedy industrialists are prevailing in another state?”
Coincidentally, liberals were presented with another bit of politically inconvenient violence to ignore, even as Crowder was trying to drum up some media coverage for his beating: Pat Moran, son of Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), somehow managed to plead a brutal skull-cracking assault on his girlfriend down to a sweet probation deal, as reported by the Washington City Paper:
Moran and his girlfriend were fighting outside 14th St. bar The Getaway around 1:23 a.m. on Dec. 1, according to a police report, over Moran talking to another woman at the bar. Suddenly, Moran allegedly slammed his girlfriend’s head into the bar’s metal trash can cage.
After the attack, police described Moran’s girlfriend as “bleeding heavily from her nose and also observed that her nose and right eye were extremely swollen.” One of the ambulance technicians who transported her to Howard University Hospital told police that Moran appeared to have broken her nose and given her a skull fracture under her right eye.
Moran was arrested for felony domestic violence assault, but pleaded the charge down to simple assault today. He was sentenced to probation.
This would be the same Pat Moran who got booted out of Dad’s campaign office after he was caught red-handed on undercover video assisting a vote-fraud scheme. That was another bit of news that only right-wing “alternative media” made a big deal about. Try to imagine the apocalyptic media firestorms that would have erupted if either story concerned a 12-term Republican representative’s son… especially if said representative wasn’t exactly a paragon of exemplary personal behavior himself. Especially in the year that the Democrats’ “War On Women” political narrative dominated headlines. It’s simply laughable to claim there isn’t a gigantic double standard at work here.
What you’re seeing in these stories is the feral aspect of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is often equated with tyranny or fascism, but it’s more properly understood as the harbinger of those evils. On its own merits, totalitarianism is the extension of politics into every aspect of life, until nothing is absolutely “true”… or “wrong”… until its political implications have been calculated. Beating someone up during a political argument, for example, is not absolutely wrong to the totalitarian mind. It matters who threw the punch, why it was thrown, and whose teeth it landed in. A union goon assaulting a conservative “instigator” might still merit a gentle cluck of mild disapproval, but it’s not nearly as “wrong” as a Tea Party guy beating up a liberal “instigator” would be.
Another totalitarian idea has been floated in the wake of the Lansing violence: it was an understandable response by union workers to right-to-work laws, which are the policy equivalent of “violence” against those who disagree with them. You can taste a bit of that foul intellectual brew in Read’s apologetic at Gawker. Others have made the suggestion far more explicitly – violent union “activists” are merely “fighting back” against a legislative “assault” upon their livelihood. It would be faintly amusing to watch the same people respond after someone who used violence to protest higher tax rates appropriated this defense word-for-word. We already know what they’d say, don’t we?
That’s the magic of totalitarianism: it completely dissolves standards, principles, and intellectual consistency. If you’re on the “right” side of a political battle, you simply do not rate the same condemnation, or media coverage, as someone who is “wrong” but behaves in exactly the same way. A simple response to the Lansing assaults is readily available to union supporters: “I absolutely deplore and condemn what the union demonstrators did, without reservation, but I still disagree with right-to-work laws, and the violent behavior of other people does not invalidate my position.” They’re not saying that, because they don’t think they have to. The absence of those words is deafening, and it will have unpleasant consequences. Totalitarianism always does, long after its early promises of benevolence have deteriorated into ironic jokes.